Last month on 22.11.2011 the Yomiuri News on-line reported the following:
Professor Hiroyuki Yano and others of the Kyoto University Survival Circle Research Institute had succeeded, from the shell of crabs or shrimps, in making a transparent and very thin membrane material which could be freely cruved and folded.
This technology, that could enable the realization of an ultra-thin surface material, would be announced to a British material technical magazine soon.
In the shell of the crustacean such as a crab, Chitin polymer fibre gathered like a sheet, when it was hardened firmly with protein and calcium carbonate, hardness became the feature.
From the shell of a snow crab, Professor Yano removed protein etc. by a chemical treatment, only the Chitin was processed. Then the space where protein had been removed was filled up with transparent resin that would permeate the crevice. A glass like transparent shell was made. From the powder of this shell, a 100-200-micrometer thick transparent film was produced.
It was soft like paper, and also it was said that even with a strong heat of up to about 200 degrees the material was still transparent.
Professor Yano said that "the material that could replace glass was made easily. The structure of the living thing which had come to this form after hundreds of millions of years was borrowed, and it was able to show that the development of new materials could have practical use."
This new material probably will revolutionize the production of TV display screen and computer monitor etc.